Countries around the world have reacted to a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israel by land, sea and air that have left at least 252 dead and hundreds wounded on Saturday, according to Israeli medics.

Here is a roundup of the reactions:

United States: The United States condemned the attack by “Hamas terrorists” against Israel. “The United States unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians,” a White House statement said, adding that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was in close contact with Israeli officials. “We stand firmly with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” it added.

Iran: A senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed support for the attack, calling it a “proud operation”.

“We support this operation,” Yahya Rahim Safavi said, quoted by ISNA news agency. Safavi expressed backing for the Palestinian militants “until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem”. At a parliament session on Saturday, Iranian lawmakers chanted “Down with Israel”, “Down with America” and “Welcome Palestine”, according to a video published by the Tasnim news agency.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said: “The Kingdom calls for an immediate halt to the escalation between the two sides, protection of civilians, and self-control”. “The Kingdom is reminded of its repeated warnings of the dangers of an explosive situation as a result of the continued occupation and deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights,” it added.

UN: The UN’s human rights chief Volker Turk said: “I call for an immediate stop to the violence, and appeal to all sides and key countries in the region to de-escalate to avoid further bloodshed.”

He said he was “deeply concerned at reports that Israeli civilians have been taken hostage”. EU: EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said “I unequivocally condemn the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists against Israel.”

“It is terrorism in its most despicable form. Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks,” she said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “this horrific violence must stop immediately. Terrorism and violence solve nothing. The EU expresses its solidarity with Israel in these difficult moments.”

He added: “News of civilians taken as hostages in their homes or to Gaza are appalling. This is against international law. Hostages must be released immediately.”

Russia: Russia’s foreign ministry called for an “immediate ceasefire”.

“We call on the Palestinian and Israeli sides to immediately cease fire, renounce violence, show the necessary restraint and — with the help of the international community — establish a negotiation process aimed at establishing a comprehensive, lasting and long-awaited peace,” ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose country is fending off a Russian invasion, said Israel had an “indisputable” right to defend itself.

“Terror is always a crime, not just against one country or specific victims, but against humanity as a whole,” he said.

Turkey: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Israel and Palestinians to avoid further escalation. “We invite all parties to act reasonably and to stay away from impulsive steps that raise tensions,” said Erdogan, who strongly supports the Palestinian cause.

France: France expressed “full solidarity with Israel and the victims” and underscored “its absolute rejection of terrorism and its commitment to Israel’s security”. President Emmanuel Macron said he “firmly condemns” the attacks.

Germany: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Israel “has our full solidarity” and “the right, guaranteed by international law, to defend itself against terrorism”.

Britain: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “shocked” by the attacks. “Israel has an absolute right to defend itself,” he said.

India: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed solidarity with Israel after Hamas launched an attack on Jewish state. Modi condemned Hamas action as “terrorist attacks” in Israel. According to Indian media reports, “Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour,” Modi said in his communique.

Yemen: In Yemen, Huthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa expressed their support for “the heroic jihadist operation”. In a statement published on the website of the Huthi-controlled SABA news agency, the Iran-aligned militant group said the attack “revealed the weakness, fragility and impotence” of Israel. It added that this operation “is a battle of dignity, pride, and defense”.


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2023-10-08

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